Direct action self-help (DASH) groups in UK flood risk management
HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX12 8JT, United Kingdom
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This paper presents an analysis of the nature and effectiveness of community direct action self-help (DASH) groups and includes a case study analysis of a river conveyance management group and a sea wall management group. DASH groups are found to be motivated by the need to deal with increasing flood risk in the face of reduced public funding, alongside sense of stewardship and community solidarity. Channel maintenance work by a DASH group can be effective and efficient at reducing some aspects of local fluvial flood risk for lower order flood events. Maintenance of existing sea walls by a DASH group may be less efficient because of the need for significant expenditure on materials and only efficacious if the engineering is quality-controlled; its longer term effectiveness is also limited by sea level rise. DASH groups require nurture to be sustainable but can deliver community benefits. Professional FCRM coordination and support of DASH activity was examined using a case study of an Environment Agency (EA) area coordinator and comparisons with alternative approaches. Support of DASH groups by FCRM professionals was found to be essential to avoid unwise activities and involves not only controlling consents, but also providing advice on the nature and extent to which DASH activity might be appropriate and arranging practical support and seed-corn funding. The most effective form of DASH facilitation requires a quality and quantity of involvement that cannot readily be supplied by dispersed arrangements from a number of individuals.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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